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Feeling a little flushed?

What is a hot flush?

Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the perimenopause. Up to 80% of women suffer from hot flushes during the perimenopause. Flashes can range from mild to severe and can have a significant impact on the quality of life, perhaps affecting the ability to work in a public environment or maintaining a social life.

Hot flushes at night are called night sweats, these can often affect quality of sleep. Contributing to another perimenopausal symptom, poor concentration and brain fog. Poor sleep also means you are also more likely to be reaching for a caffeine kick or a sugary snack the next day to keep up energy levels. But did you know obesity can worsen severity and frequency of hot flushes? Notice a vicious cycle?

Although the root cause of hot flashes is still unknown,it is thought that the rate at which hormones fluctuate during the perimenopause causes the body to misfire signals to the brain, tricking it to heat up very quickly, then cool down (intense sweating), lasting anything from 1-5 minutes. Once the decline of hormones begins to stabilise, the frequency of hot flushes will also decrease. However, this can range between 5-10 years. Some women experience hot flushes well into their 60’s.

Not all women have the same experience of hot flushes either. Some women have it several times a day, others a few times a week.

If you are suffering from hot flushes here are some natural methods to help manage your symptoms

Paced breathing, slowing down your breath by taking longer, deliberate and deeper breaths can help. Downloading a paced breathing app on your phone can help guide you through a session. 15 minutes a day has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

Wearing multiple layers of clothing instead of one big jumper, will make it easier to regulate your body temperature.

During a hot flush, feelings of anxiety, stress, nervousness, embarrassment or shame can exacerbate the flush. Taking a moment to breathe away the negative feelings for two minutes can help to shorten the hot flush. Breaths should be taken deeply and slowly for 2-3 minutes.

Cooling bedding. Cooling pillows and cooling mattress toppers can help to prevent hot flushes before they start, for a better nights sleep.

Diet. Consumption of the following can worsen severity and frequency of hot flushes:

Alcohol. There are plenty of non-alcoholic or low alcoholic beverages available on the market

Spicy foods. Reducing the amount of chillies that you use or eating foods that are below your spice tolerance can help to reduce frequency of hot flushes

Caffeine. Try replacing coffee or tea with decaffeinated alternatives instead.

Smoking has been shown to increase the severity of hot flushes. Reducing or eliminating smoking can help to manage symptoms of hot flushes.

How can nutritional therapy help?

Working with me will mean I will review your whole health history and identify triggers to your symptoms. Using nutrition and lifestyle changes we can address hot flushes, poor sleep, sugar cravings and low energy levels.

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